A BRAVE NEW WORLD
As we approached Christmas, at the time of publication, I contemplated the year that has gone by and the state of our industry in general. Much has changed over the time since taking up this post in the mid 2000s.
The in-car electronics space has gone from the predominance of the now seemingly primitive 1-DIN receivers – with only the higher models even offering Bluetooth hands-free operability back then – to the bulk of sales convincingly (according to several industry sources) being 2-DIN multimedia head units with every conceivable feature.
Further developments – and I predict 2015 and up to Q2 2016 being critical – will see an ubiquitous uptake and amalgamation of smartphone and head unit co-functionality. Apple’s CarPlay and MirrorLink (and to a lesser extent Pioneer’s proprietary AppRadio) will make further inroads into entry level products and consumers will be expecting, rather than surprisingly accepting, these converging technologies to be included in the in-car ecosystem.
Taking this one step further (perhaps well into 2017 and 2018) would have the almost complete integration of smartphone, tablet, home computer and in-car electronics. Tablet-sized systems are already on offer by some of the prestige vehicle brands and it would only be a matter of software design with some dash alterations/redesigns to provide ‘iPad-like’ devices and functionality with full internet access and Cloud availability in the car. The car as voice-commanded office and/or entertainment hub – albeit with consideration for safety aspects.
Of course this is already available in simplified fashion – the Audison bit Play HD and others go some way towards this technological goal – but the costs of both hardware and limiting service provider data packs are somewhat prohibitive while the mechanics of operation and data management are still undergoing refinements. But the promise, even in the reasonably short term, is exciting.
Yes, it’s a Brave New World and we’re smack in the eye of the storm, sailing the sea of change while being captivated by the possibilities and wonderment of things to come…